One of my favorite things about being a woman is the innate ability we have to juggle multiple roles and appear to have it altogether. We make sure our family, friends, employer, church and any other affiliation we have are in good shape, but fail to take care of ourselves. We will use all of our strength to make sure we complete our daily to-do lists without putting ourselves on it.
As a nurse, I know firsthand how stress can affect your body or quality of life and yet I am guilty of neglecting myself as well. We view self-care as a selfish act and it is the first thing we sacrifice when we are feeling overwhelmed. This is the moment when we need it the most. Self-care does not have to be some extravagant activity we partake in nor does it require you to break the bank on some excessive retail therapy. In order for self-care to be effective, it must be done on a regular basis. Here are three ways you can engage in self-care every single day without spending a dime:
Sisterfriends, don’t start unplugging your electronics and appliances out of the wall sockets, ok? This literally means mentally unplugging from all outer influences. This includes not scrolling your social media timelines or checking them at all. It can also go as far as not responding to messages or calls. Put your phones, tablets and computers in another room if you have to.
Unplugging from social media provides that space you need to clear your head. It is hard to find solitude when you are always connected to everyone and everything that is going on in the world. Unplugging can increase how aware we are of our surroundings and can enhance productivity. Think about how much time we waste checking and updating our social media handles! Plus, energy is transferable so you do not want someone else’s post to affect your mood.
2. Create An Intimate Setting
One of my favorite ways to unwind after a long day or a hard shift is to create an intimate setting for myself. I like to adjust the setting and sit under dim lights. Since I am up on my feet for twelve hours when I’m at work, I like running a bubble bath, lighting some vanilla soy candles and playing some soothing music. The Internet and Solange are my favorite artists to listen to when I am relaxing.
Sometimes my intimate setting could be laying on my bed for 20 minutes with the lights off and sun peeking through my blinds, or on my screened-in patio when the weather is nice so I can enjoy nature without the bugs. The environment we choose to conduct our self-care in is so crucial. Regardless of what your intimate setting looks like, make sure peace is there.
3. Do Nothing
That’s right. Literally, do nothing. When I was in college, I had to learn to pencil this into my schedule. When I got home, I would lay on the couch and watch a 30-minute episode before I tackled my at-home tasks. Sometimes my “do nothing” is lying still and listening to music or reading a book or catching up on my devotional, but it is the time I take to recharge my “mental” batteries. If you have to write down in your planner or designate a time to do so like I did, I really encourage you to do it! It saved me from several episodes of burnout from work and nursing school.
Self-care must be the activity we partake in to relax us and to relieve our stress. What may be a healthy coping mechanism for you could be different for someone else. It does not always have to be in the form of meditation and yoga. If exercising, taking naps, bike riding and even cooking relaxes you, DO THAT! The point is that it must become a part of our daily routine. There are twenty-four hours in a day and all of that time cannot go to everyone else. If you do not have time for yourself or God every day, you are way too busy. At the end of the day, you cannot pour from an empty cup, so make sure you are taking care of yourself first before you take care of everyone and everything else.